Denise Umuhoza: "Reigniting my passion for PIH-IMB's work after nine years
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After nine years working with PIH-IMB, I can confess that my recent visit to Kirehe rekindled my passion and gratitude for what we do to save the lives of many. On Tuesday October 3rd 2017, I enjoyed a site visit to Kirehe - PIH supported hospital and I was fascinated by the impact PIHIMB has had on people’s lives since we started supporting the hospital. 

It wasn’t my first time to visit Kirehe. The visit was organized primarily for my colleagues who are new at PIH-IMB but it seemed all new to me because I discovered something I had never discovered for all the years I have been working here. We had a great tour around and inside the hospital, thanks to Daniela and team for the invaluable hospitality.

I realized that a lot had changed about Kirehe, ranging from infrastructure, to staff and to the service delivery, but more fascinating to me was the ‘fantastic’ NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) – very clean, organized and hope restoring. You just feel hope renewed when you enter its warm welcoming doors filled with rays of hope for the ‘little angels’ and their mothers that cuddle them with love and assurance that they will someday become great people.

I instantly felt the motherly love flowing through my nerves and I could say quietly in my heart - “what an inspiration, what a joy to be part of an Organization that strives to save lives, to give hope, to grant health equity and social justice to those that could hardly access them”. I had had the curiosity to enter the NICU for the first time and particularly see how kangaroo mother care works; and trust me, my curiosity was quenched by emotions. I saw two mothers caring for their newborns using kangaroo and the sight of it has since touched my heart forever.

I noticed how the PIH-IMB initiative of Kangaroo care is doing magic for both mother/father and their newborns and this left me in tears of joy. It re-energized me and made me cherish the work that we as PIHIMB staff do in one way or another as we unite towards achieving health equity and social justice.

Way before I joined PIH-IMB, I had heard about their work through friends and relatives who worked there. They told me quite interesting stories about the impact they had had in Rwinkwavu and Kirehe Hospital and I decided to visit the sites.

As luck brought it to my exposure, I came across a job advert in the ‘Imvaho Nshya of August 2008 and I couldn’t wait to apply. Fortunately I was selected, did the exam and was recruited as an Accountant for my first job in PIH-IMB until 2012 when I was moved to Kigali Administrative Coordinator position, and eventually promoted to my current position as Office Manager and Assistant in the Deputy Director’s Office since 2016.

This transition exposed me to many opportunities of both career and self-development, complementing my previous banking experience from where I worked (Banque Populaire and ECOTEL) for 6 and 2 months respectively. Working for PIH-IMB not only contributed to my professional/career development but also personal development in so many ways. I have learnt to cherish other people’s culture because I met people with different cultural background and belief. I learnt so many things from my colleagues and I am glad that most of them have eventually turned into friends because IMB makes you feel like it is more of a family than a work place.

I appreciate having met and known different doctors whose medical advice I seek so often and I am glad none of them has ever turned me back. They extend their helping hand to my family and I whenever I reach out to them with a health related issue. This has contributed so much to my personal growth into cherishing team work, solidarity and value for humanity. Working with PIH-IMB gradually pulls you to adapting to its values of Humanity and solidarity, and this has made me realize that “Unity is Strength”

Finally, I can’t thank PIH-IMB leadership enough for having granted me a scholarship opportunity to do my Master’s Degree in Business Administration, something that has remarkably contributed to my career and professional growth. I can briefly say that I have gained a lot more than I anticipated before I joined PIHIMB, and I will work so hard to give back to the community that we serve, having been motivated by the impact that I witnessed at Kirehe Hospital. I still can’t express how fascinated I felt when I visited the Kirehe NICU.